Check That Spore Print
by Kim Speight
Recently I have become interested in learning how to raise mushrooms. I have read the wonderful books by Paul Stamets on the subject and thought I would check around our area to see if there are any wild versions of some edible mushrooms. I checked a mushroom field guide out of the local library and have been putzing around in my curiosity. A friend of ours had a patch of enormous mushrooms pop up in his yard.
The next day, we arrived at my friend's yard and took pictures of about 8 of the largest gill mushrooms I had ever seen. 10-20 cm diameter caps, brownish scales on a white background, and a 1.5-2 cm stem with a swollen base. I picked them and took them home, placing some caps on white paper and some on orange paper to get spore prints. The gills looked mostly white and the skin bruised brownish, though there was a greenish smear on the top of one of the mushroom caps. It sure looked like a Macrolepiota rhacodes at this point. Unable to resist, I fried up a portion of one of the mushroom caps and ate it tentatively. It tasted ok, maybe a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Several hours later, I am not ill, but I have discovered that the spore print is green! Hmmm, perplexing, because there was no mention of that color spore print under M. rhacodes or M. procera. I studied the book further. Oh, my gosh, there is a mushroom that looks like M. rhacodes and/or procera with green spores that is reputed poisonous! Chlorophyllum molybdites. Yikes. The next few days (or weeks) should tell whether I've done myself in in my stupidity.